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Writer Needed

Writer Needed

......a Nola Divine story

My fingers were postured in a typing stance at the keyboard and my eyes darted a mile a minute across my computer screen. My back was even hunched over my desk – as if somehow this position would help me spot typos better. I was busy doing what I found myself doing a lot lately – editing a resume.

“Danielle, have you ever thought about charging people for that” asked my colleague, Mrs. Gaston.

Her question caught me completely off guard. Charging money for reviewing and rewriting resumes? The idea had never occurred to me before. After all, I wasn’t looking for money; I was just doing my friend’s a favor. But it appeared that I had accidentally stumbled across something that I was good at; A business opportunity even.

Like me, Robert Dagnall also stumbled across his knack for resume writing and entrepreneurship. It was an ordinary morning in 1991 when the UC Berkeley graduate sat pouring over the classified ads for employment opportunities. The inquiries about his career goals had been numerous and quite frustrating. The young man was determined to prove that he could do more with his English degree than resort to being a teacher. He had no idea that his entire future as a business owner stared right at him from the pages of the newspaper - in a less than descriptive ad that simply stated, “Writer Needed.”

“Those two words were like holy grail for English majors,” Dagnall told me in an interview. He called the number on the ad, landed an interview and got the job. The new hire was quickly put to work constructing resumes and as they say, they rest is history. Fast forward about 15 years and he’s been writing resumes and changing people’s careers ever since. To say Mr. Dagnall has changed careers is a strong statement, but in talking to him you’ll understand why this is true.

While other resume companies compete for top ranking in this dog-eat-dog business world, it appears they often get caught up in merely cranking out resumes, generic job fact-sheets of sorts – But Robert Dagnall’s has a different approach. As said on, Dagnall feels his clients deserve better, and this is certainly evident in his caring attitude. “I understand that when my clients come to me, it’s not because they need a new resume, it’s because they need a job,” he said. When writing a resume, this guru gets what is really important. Despite popular belief, it’s not all about the type of fancy paper you use, your vocabulary or design. It’s about learning how to say a great deal with few words and making sure that you as a future employee can sell yourself on paper.

“If I can only impress one person,” Dagnall said of the final product, “I want to impress the employer. Ideally you create a resume that serves both parties…the best resumes don’t just land interviews, but it also reminds them [the client] of what they have to offer.”

Dagnall’s years of expertise and compassionate outlook aren’t the only things that make his business so successful.’s consistent delivery of superior service could not be done without the wonders of technology. With a mass number of people who now completely communicate through cell phones, the internet and e-mail, this online business has been able to reach people over a website since 1995. Though each day brings a different adventure in proprietorship, there are a few things Dagnall can always count on – taking several calls and answering e-mails daily. He works alone but shared that “when you run the shop and do all the work, you learn to juggle your responsibilities.” So he’s always prepared to take a phone call or set up an appointment with a client.

But every company has its challenge and to my surprise, the Guru’s challenge is not some other competing resume writing service or internet staple like – Instead he told me that his major competitors are people like me and my friends, the do-it-yourself folks who try to write our own resumes. When I asked him to explain this one he said, “It amazes how if you’ve got a leaky faucet, you’ll call a plumber.” But when comes to something as important as a resume, “people will put their career on the line.” He continued to say that he feels the state of the industry is not at its best because “everyone is an expert.”

Interviewing Robert Dagnall, President of has more than enlightened me on building a career, owning a business and investing in a great resume. His advice to aspiring resume writers was simple yet meaningful: “Take it seriously. Do no harm to your client. Read books; learn as much as you can. Join professional associations. But most of all - do the best you can.”

So I hold Mr. Dagnall responsible not only for the stack of library books on my coffee table, but for causing me to reevaluate my own career goals and take resumes much more seriously. As a current MBA graduate student, my future is still uncertain and I can’t say what I’ll be doing a few years from now. But with confidence I’ll tell you that I’ll never be caught hunched over my laptop again, trying to fix my own resume. I’ll leave that to the guru.

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